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Search for Common Ground unveils counter-conflict fellowship in Nigeria

From Tunde Rahman, Lojoja

Search for Common Ground, a U.S. based international nongovernmental organization is currently screening applications into its media fellowship programme aimed at “Transforming the Farmer-Herder Conflicts and Promoting Freedom of Religions and Belief in Nigeria’s Middle Belt”.

The “Conflict-Sensitivity Media Fellowship” targets 21 participants with seven journalists from each state.

These include influential local journalists, editors, and producers, as well as new media influencers

The project according to official bulletin seeks to contribute to preventing violence and the destruction of lives and properties resulting from ‘protracted’ violent conflicts between farmers and herders.

This it hopes to achieve by combating ‘impunity’ and promoting the freedom of religions and belief in the country’s Middle Belt region.

The selected fellows will be mentored for one year to produce positive content to be pushed into public domain to counter negative narratives, hate speech and fake news in such a way that can de-escalate the violent conflicts within the Middle Belt, Nigeria, it is gathered.

“The fellows and his/her Media house will monthly produce positive content for public domain with supervision guidance from the Media Fellowship Mentor for one year,” information on the SFCG website says.

The overall goal is supported by three specific objectives which will guide the project’s activities:

Objective 1: To increase collaboration between farmer and herder communities to develop joint, effective, sustainable local mechanisms for early warning response, dispute management, and violence prevention and mitigation at the community levels.

Objective 2: To strengthen implementation of rule of laws and accountability measures by the government of focal states and relevant federal government institutions to respond to and prevent violence resulting from farmer-herder conflicts at the state levels.

Objective 3: To enhance public understanding of the farmer-herder conflicts by promoting conflict sensitive contents and, countering hate speech, stereotypes, biases and negative narratives that fuel violence.

SFCG will provide logistical support to the fellows during the programme.



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